Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No surprise....

Qantas, in a US court, has been fined the better part of 70 million dollars (Aus) for engaging in "price fixing" on its US - Australia cargo routes. British Airways and Korean Airlines have been ordered to pay (USD) 300 million for their "roles in passenger and freight price fixing conspiracies".

This shouldn't surprise anyone. Even less surprising is the apparent rationale used: fuel levies. Anyone who has travelled by air recently will realise just what this little "surcharge" adds.

A marvellous revenue raiser are "fuel levies". The nice little earner works by the facade of being"up-front" with the punter by declaring that this outside the airline's control and this is what it costs. you know, just like all the other charges that governments impose. And, just like government charges, once in they are not ever removed and - a fortiori - never reduced. Used to be a day when airlines factored fuel as a running cost into a ticket price.

I suppose car dealers might charge a "rubber levy" to cover the increasing cost of tyres. Maybe a levy for the grease and oil supplied?

The US government takes a rather dim view of this anti-competitive behaviour:

(US Assistant Attorney-General) Mr Barnett said the latest guilty plea should send a message that price fixers would pay a heavy price for collusion.

"The shipment of consumer products by air is critical to our global economy.Our investigation into this important industry will continue and we will aggressively pursue those who engage in criminal conduct that harms American consumers."

As well it should. It remains a great pity the US has no need to investigate Qanats' passenger ticketing behaviour. Anyone who has travelled to the US on Qantas should read the following and feel, well, pissed off:

Qantas, which is presently offering US passengers return airfares to Australia of $US1298, or about 40 per cent of what it charges Australians to fly to the US, committed the breaches between January 1, 2000, and February 14, 2006, authorities say.

A pity there seems little political interest in decent competition here. It seems that Qantas will enjoy its "protected" routes staus no matter what stripe of government resides in Canberra. Airlines such as Virgin and Singapore might knock on the door forever and never be admitted. Can't have such open competition on Qantas' nice little earners.

That though is not "price fixing". That is price gouging.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Jacob A. Stam said...

Well spotted, Father!

And gee, nothing ever seems to change with Qantas. When it's not gorging itself on the public teat, it's ripping off it's customers.

By the way, this blog has a proud history of exposing the hypocrisy and misdeeds of Qantas.

Okay, that's hyperbole, but I did post a couple of rants about Qantas a while ago.

Okay, quite a while ago.

(Click on the 'Qantas' link in the labels to this post to see these.)

28/11/07 10:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home